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Comics is the largest and most diverse English language
publisher of comic books in the world. Founded in
1934 as National Allied Publications, the company
that would one day become DC Comics virtually created
the comic book, publishing the first comic of all
original material. Then, in the spring of 1938, the
first super hero story appeared in ACTION COMICS #1,
introducing SUPERMAN. Other soon-to-be icons would
follow, including BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN,
THE FLASH and many others. Today, DC Comics publishes
more than 80 titles a month and close to 1000 issues
a year. DC has several imprints spanning the gamut
of graphic storytelling: The DC Universe is the home
of DC's peerless roster of super heroes; Vertigo caters
to a more mature, literary readership; WildStorm offers
a bold alternative take on heroic and adventure comics;
CMX brings some of Japan's best-loved manga to American
audiences; and Zuda Comics is DC's innovative web
imprint. DC is also the home of MAD Magazine, the
best-known humor magazine in America. DC Comics is
a division of Time Warner, the largest entertainment
company in the world.
Comics (founded originally in 1934 as National Allied
Publications) is one of the largest and most popular
American comic book and related media companies, along
with Marvel Comics. A subsidiary of Warner
Bros. Entertainment since 1969, DC Comics produces
material featuring a large number of well-known characters,
including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash,
Green Lantern and the Justice League.
The initials "DC" came from the company's
popular series, Detective Comics, which subsequently
became part of the company's official name. DC Comic's
official headquarters are at 1700 Broadway, 7th, New
York, New York. Random House distributes DC Comics'
books to the bookstore market, while Diamond Comics
Distributors supplies the comics shop specialty market.
Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied
Publications debuted with the tabloid-sized New Fun:
The Big Comic Magazine #1 in February 1935. The company's
second title, New Comics #1 (December 1935), was published
at a size close to what would become comic books'
standard during the period fans and historians call
the Golden Age of Comic Books, with slightly larger
dimensions than today's. That title evolved into Adventure
Comics, which continued through issue #503 in 1983,
becoming one of the longest-running comic book series.
His third and final title, Detective Comics, advertised
with a cover illustration dated December 1936, eventually
premiering three months late with a March 1937 cover
date. The themed anthology series would become a sensation
with the introduction of Batman in issue #27 (May
1939). By then, however, Wheeler-Nicholson had gone.
In 1937, in debt to printing-plant owner and magazine
distributor Harry Donenfeld — who was as well
a pulp-magazine publisher and a principal in the magazine
distributorship Independent News — Wheeler-Nicholson
was compelled to take Donenfeld on as a partner in
order to publish Detective #1. Detective Comics, Inc.
was formed, with Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz,
Donenfeld's accountant, listed as owners. Major Wheeler-Nicholson
remained for a year, but cash-flow problems continued,
and he was forced out. Shortly afterward, Detective
Comics Inc. purchased the remains of National Allied,
also known as Nicholson Publishing, at a bankruptcy
Detective Comics Inc. shortly launched a fourth title,
Action Comics, the premiere of which introduced Superman
(a character with which Wheeler-Nicholson had no direct
involvement; editor Vin Sullivan chose to run the
feature after Sheldon Mayer rescued it from the slush
pile). Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the first comic
book to feature the new character archetype soon to
be called superheroes, proved a major sales hit. The
company quickly introduced such other popular characters
as the Sandman and Batman.
March 2003, DC acquired publishing and merchandising
rights to the long-running fantasy series Elfquest,
previously self-published by creators Wendy and Richard
Pini under their WaRP Graphics publication banner.
This series then followed the Tower Comics series
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in becoming non-DC titles published
in the "DC Archives" format. In 2004, DC
temporarily acquired the North American publishing
rights to graphic novels from European publishers
2000 AD and Humanoids. It also rebranded its younger-audience
titles with the mascot Johnny DC, and established
the CMX imprint to reprint translated manga. In 2006,
CMX took over publication - from Dark Horse Comics
- publication of the webcomic Megatokyo in print form.
DC also took advantage of the demise of Kitchen Sink
Press and acquired the rights to much of the work
of the renowned creator, Will Eisner, such as his
The Spirit series and his acclaimed graphic novels.
Starting in 2004, DC began laying groundwork for a
full continuity-reshuffling sequel to Crisis on Infinite
Earths, promising substantial changes to the DC Universe
(and side-stepping the 1994 Zero Hour event which
similarly tried to ret-con the history of the DCU).
In 2005, the company published several limited series
establishing increasingly escalated conflicts among
DC's heroes, with events climaxing in the Infinite
Crisis limited series. Immediately after this event,
DC's ongoing series jumped forward a full year in
their in-story continuity, as DC launched a weekly
series, 52, to gradually fill in the missing time.
Concurrently, DC lost the copyright to "Superboy"
(while retaining the trademark) when the heirs of
Jerry Seigel used a provision of the 1976 revision
to the copyright law to regain ownership. Although
DC appealed the ruling, it is widely believed that
this was the reason for Conner Kent (also known as
Superboy)'s death during the Infinite Crisis limited
In 2005, DC launched a new "All-Star" line
(evoking the title of the 1940s publication), designed
to feature some of the company's best-known characters
in stories that eschewed the long and convoluted continuity
of the DC Universe, produced by "all star"
creative teams.. All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy
Wonder launched in July 2005, with All-Star Superman
beginning in November 2005. All-Star Wonder Woman
and All Star Batgirl were announced in 2006, but neither
have been released or scheduled as of the beginning
In April 2008, the videogame company Midway released
the eighth version of its Mortal Kombat fighting-game
franchise, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which featured
DC superheroes and supervillians as half of the playable